Having been inspired by both Jenny’s success at Yorkshire Marathon and Sarah’s incredible results in the Bristol to Bath Marathon, I wanted to see if I had a little bit more in me over that distance than I had done previously. Turns out I did……
The Brighton Marathon is one of the UK’s favourite 26.2-milers and this would be my 4th marathon attempt. With a stunning backdrop of the sea in one of the country’s most vibrant cities, the race gets bigger and better every year. Waking up to a gorgeous sunny skyline over the sea I could see we had fab conditions despite the horrendous
weather the previous few days. Although chilly at first the sun soon got rather warm – it was going to be a glorious day.
The buzzing atmosphere began in Preston Park, where the start line was located. I think most of this was pre-race nerves and fear at the stupidly long and chaotic toilet queues. Little did we know there were a handful of loos on the start line once you’d gone into your colour starting corral. I think runners should have been made more aware of this, or indeed there could be a runners only enclosure – many people, including me, ended up missing the official start due to the queues, not great. But, on the plus side, this did mean I didn’t set out too fast as I had to make my way past lots of other runners to get to a space where I could settle in to my pace.
There was amazing, roaring crowd support all the way along the course which winds through the city streets, along the coast road and finishes up on the spectacular, beautiful Brighton seafront – there are a few steeper sections but other than that it’s a fairly flat course. Apart from the toilet crisis at the start, it was incredibly well organised and a very very friendly (busy!) event.
Miles 15-16 were a struggle for me so I had to have a word with myself – I’d worked so hard for this, I couldn’t give up! Both then and miles 19-21 weren’t great moments for me, the latter being a stretch near a very fishy, sewage-type smelly stretch and a part where you could see others runners on the home stretch going in the other direction – I was tired, very very hot and wanted it to be done. In my head my mantra was “you’ve got this, you can do it – just keep putting one foot in front of the other.” That along with plenty of counting and the amazing crowds cheering for ‘Suzanne from Cheddar’ (without the laughter by that point – for some reason people find the name of our club funny…..?) got me through. I burst into tears on crossing the finish line – I’d managed 3:18:38, shaving 37 minutes off my previous London marathon effort of 3:55:06. I’m still in a state of shock.